Hearken to the Sound of the Trumpet: A Nation at Risk as an American Jeremiad.Report as inadecuate

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This paper briefly reviews some of the circumstantial explanations for the unusual grip the report "A Nation At Risk" (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) has had on the imagination of the U.S. public. Beyond these explanations, "A Nation At Risk" is a unique form of lament when it was published, not only did the political maneuvering of many parties bring the report to greater attention than reports on education normally receive, but the structure, rhetorical tone, and fervor of the report, with its suggestions of a nation fallen from grace, gripped the national soul as though it were a sermon. Years after its publication, "A Nation At Risk" remains a subject of commentary and study. As a genre, the Jeremiad foretells destruction because of the evil of a group. In addition, the "American Jeremiad" offers in addition the idea of catharsis and redemption through hard work, sacrifice, and rededication, focusing attention on the possible future in contrast to current failure. The report weaves together powerful strains of U.S. identity, including a fear of lost cohesion and the falling away from the mission of a chosen people. (SLD)

Descriptors: Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Low Achievement, Public Opinion

Author: Lanier, Kirsten Olson

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=5554&id=ED441868

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